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Gunslinging justice – The American culture of gun violence in Westerns and the law - Manchester Scholarship Online
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Gunslinging justice: The American culture of gun violence in Westerns and the law

Justin A. Joyce


Gunslinging justice explores American Westerns in a variety of media alongside the historical development of the American legal system to argue that Western shootouts are less overtly “anti-law” than has been previously assumed. While the genre’s climactic shootouts may look like a putatively masculine opposition to the codified and mediated American legal system, this gun violence is actually enshrined in the development of American laws regulating self-defense and gun possession. The climactic gun violence and stylized revenge drama of seminal Western texts then, seeks not to oppose "the law ... More

Keywords: Western genre, American law, Gun rights, Masculinity, Self-defense, Justice, Revenge, Normativity, Discourse

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9781526126160
Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019 DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526126160.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Justin A. Joyce, author
Research Associate to Provost McBride at Emory University and Managing Editor of the James Baldwin Review